Could you pass the test?

October 14, 2008
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What does the U.S. Constitution do? Why do some states have more representatives than others? Under the U.S. Constitution, what is one power of the federal government?

As a lawyer, you should be able to answer these questions pretty easily. But what if you were new to the U.S. and trying to become a citizen?

The government has created a new citizenship test, which has more of an emphasis on fundamental concepts of the U.S. democracy and the rights and responsibilities of citizens as opposed to more factual questions, such as ‘How many stars are on the U.S. flag?’

The idea of the redesign is to ensure naturalization applicants have a meaningful understanding of our government and history. From now on, those who apply have to take this new version of the test. You can see some of the questions on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Web site by clicking on the links at the bottom of the page.

Because the new test is concept based, it may be more challenging to those who aren’t proficient in English or who haven’t completed much education in their lives. But is that the new point of the test – to make it harder so that only those who have a firm grasp of English can pass and become citizens, or is it to make sure new citizens truly understand the concepts behind the U.S., not just the facts?

As Americans, I think we take for granted our freedoms afforded to us under our Constitution and forget about our country’s history and birth. Take a look at some of the new questions and see how many you can answer.
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